Concha Y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 (review)

86 Points

Punte Alto, Chile. 13.5%

The 14th vintage of this single vineyard wine, a flagship for Concha Y Toro and Chile. Consistently gains rave review from Wine Spectator (94 points for this vintage) and Robert Parker. I previously tried the 99 vintage, which is supposed to be particularly good, but the wine was tired and suggested signs of inappropriate (hot) storage. Fortunately this wine was fine.

Opaque, not realy shiny, colour. Savoury sweet aromas. Flavours that mix bordeaux (reminds me of Rollan de By 2001) along coffee (Farmers Union iced coffee) oak, with a fatter (glycerol and alcohol) texture. Some Barossa shiraz deserves the title “chocolate milkshakes”, and this is “cafe Latte”.

A bit obviously flamboyant for me. And simple for it. Too commercial to be fine. A wine made for the US market – and obviously, given the ratings, they have hit the mark. A good benchmark for the style.

It’s a nice wine, but I’m glad all wine isn’t made like this, and would hate to see this style become popular in Bordeaux. I can see why many people, including many Americans, are worried about the influence of critics like Parker.

Drinks well without or with food. Drink now or over the next 4 years.


Clos Floridene 2002 (review)

87+ points

Graves, Bordeaux, France. 13%

It’s not well known that the great dry white region of Bordeaux historically has produced far more red than white, and today still produces twice the amount of dry red wine than dry white (sweet white is also produced with Graves being situated nearby all of the known sweet regions of Bordeaux). Presumably much of the red wine is not of great quality, as the whites get the attention. But first growth Haut-Brion is in Graves, as are other top chateaux like La Louviere.

This wine is rather good, less lean and linear than some 2002, there is an unmistakable minerality – a touch of steel, which provides a nice balance to a warm mid-weight wine. Drink now and over the next 5 years.

Leasingham 2000 Bin 61 Clare Shiraz

91 points

This wine surprised me in that it wasn’t over the top in alcohol and wood as I expected. A ‘cellar release’ from Dan Murphy’s it had the right combination of Shiraz starting to develop layered complexity, almost a Bordeaux-like leafiness with the Shiraz berry (not pruney or cooked fruit). I am going to go back and buy a few more at $25.

Domaine de la Grange des Peres 2001

88 points

A wine from Aniane near Montpellier in the Languedoc made by one of the ‘new’ vineyards. A richly flavoured wine, but lacking some complexity. Ripe Grenache and Carignane spiciness with balanced alcohol (14%) given the fruit. Also lacking some of the thick tannins I like in these wines, but a very nice change from Australian.

Chateau Siaurac 2002 (review)

83 points (Byron)

87 points (Anne)

Lalande de Pomerol, Bordeaux, France. 13.5%

Dark, rich, fruitcake plummy aspects that you’d expect in a ripe Right Bank wine. But I found it over-extracted. Anne liked it as a ‘drink without food’ wine. It’s not really New World in style, the fruit isn’t overtly sweet and there is a distinctive bitterness to providing a bit of balance, but (for me) this really isn’t what claret is about.

Bought from Vintage Cellars (Adelaide).  Not expensive, about US15.

Grace in a glass

Jenni Port (great name) argues that Australian winemaking fashion is turning against high alcohol wines.  Great.  I hope her prediction comes true.

What isn’t true is the claim that any region can make elegant wine.  Not without problems that is.  Some areas will struggle to get the grapes physiologically ripe without high alcohols.

It’s not just hot regions that can have this problem.  Some NZ regions have this problem for some grapes (which hasn’t hurt them for Sauvignon Blanc where herbaceous character is a major part of the style).

Shaw and Smith Shiraz 2004 (review)

83 points
Adelaide Hills, South Australia. 14%

A pristine modern shiraz, completely ripe, not too sweet, cool climate wine with deft yet showy French oak. Very clean, very balanced. James Halliday will no doubt enjoy it as will other Australian wine show judges, not becuase it is an outrageous show pony but rather because it is an example of textbook modern winemaking (and probably viticulture).

But I found it boring.

PS silly super heavy glass bottle

Jeanneret Shiraz 2002 (review)

83 points
Clare Valley, South Australia. 14.5%, screwcap

A bit old-fashioned, with noticeable added acidity. The back label notes “none of the fruit used to make this wine has been irrigated with River Murray water” – good on them. Though this doesn’t particularly taste like a Clare wine, nor show the class of the cool 2002 vintage. There are riverland wines of this style and quality.

Chateau Potensac 2001 (review)

87 points
Medoc, Bordeaux. 13%

Rustic, black olive, claret. Uncomplicated, authentic winemaking. Delicious with food, but this is not a delicious wine by any means, not pretty or soft, not for drinking without food. I expect this to soften, and maybe even flesh out a tad over the next 3 years. Best drinking 2008-10.

Other vintage reviews of Chateau Potensac.

Chateau Puygueraud 2000 (Review)

88+ points

Cotes De Francs, Bordeaux, France. 13%

Nicolas Thienpont has created one of the great bargains of Bordeaux. This is very savoury, and although in 2000 a ‘George’ reserve cuvee which is mostly Malbec was made, there must have been enough Malbec left over because this wine (the normal Puygueraud) also tastes of Malbec. It’s very drinkable with food in spite of the very substantial tannins. Serious deep wine. OK it’s without the class of a classed growth, missing the fine fruit, but it has great structure and hearty flavour.